Blog Post


The Role of Trust in Grantmaking

Dear JustFund Community, 

You’ve heard us say that Money Moves at the Speed of Trust™ and undoubtedly you’ve been in a meeting or read a piece using the phrase “trust-based philanthropy”. People are talking about centering trust in their grantmaking, but what role does trust play? 

At the very basic level, we rely on trust when we make a grant to an organization; we fund their work because we believe in their ability and reliability to do what they say they are going to do with those funds. This begs the question: How much do you need to know about an organization before you feel confident moving resources? Do we need 18 questions on an application, a site visit, benchmarks toward outcomes, or, can we design our grantmaking processes with trust at the center? 

Here is how JustFund provides JustFunders with an equitable process that puts trust at the center of grantmaking:

Streamline applications. What do we really need to know from an organization before we fund? Probably not answers to a dozen questions and multiple attachments. We designed the common grant application at JustFund to help funders streamline what they ask, provide the critical information they need to make decisions, and drastically reduce the burden on applicants.

Lean on other funders and their networks. When we can see other funders have invited groups to apply or reached organizations through their networks, does that increase our confidence to reach out and possibly fund a group? What if that group has already been vetted and funded, can we streamline our due diligence? JustFunders are leaning on each other to reduce the steps in their grantmaking processes, funding organizations via the application they already submitted to another funder, without requesting additional labor.  

Redistribute power. Many JustFunders rely on participatory grantmaking structures to decide who receives funding and why. When we trust people who are closest to the issues to decide how to solve those issues, we shift power in a meaningful way and are able to deploy capital to organizations and solutions respected and trusted by folks on the frontlines. JustFund is launching a brand new scoring tool to make movement leader-led decision making easy for funders to utilize. Join JustFund and  explore whether participatory grantmaking is right for you.

JustFund takes care of the administrative side of grantmaking so that funders and organizations have time to do the transformative work required to build trust and move more money to critical work on the frontlines.

What role does trust play in your philanthropy? We want to hear from you! Tell us your story and how your values are changing the way you give.


Iara Peng, Founder & CEO

Iara Duarte Peng

Iara Duarte Peng

Iara Duarte Peng is the Founder and CEO of JustFund.

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